Kirk Kerkorian

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Kerkor "Kirk" Kerkorian (born June 6, 1917 in Fresno , California ; † June 15, 2015 in Los Angeles , California) was an American entrepreneur, multi-billionaire and CEO of the investment company Tracinda Corporation , based in Beverly Hills , California. He was the owner of numerous hotels in Las Vegas and a major investor in the film and automotive industries .


Kerkor "Kirk" Kerkorian was born in Fresno, California in 1917 as the son of Armenian immigrants and grew up in poor circumstances. His father was a fruit dealer. When he was 9 years old, he started to work to support his family. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade. Under the care of his older brother, Kerkorian first became an amateur boxer, from 1939 he concentrated on flying. During World War II he was a pilot in the Royal Air Force .


In 1947, Kerkorian bought a small charter airline for $ 60,000, and from the beginning of 1948 he used the aircraft between Los Angeles and Las Vegas under the name Los Angeles Air Service (LAAS). Trans International Airlines emerged from the company in 1960 . Kerkorian successfully floated the airline in 1965, selling it in 1968 for $ 104 million to the Transamerica Corporation , securing $ 85 million in shares in the company.

Kerkorian and Las Vegas

Kerkorian was known as the "King of Las Vegas ", which he first visited in 1944.

In 1962 he bought a 32.2 hectare property in Las Vegas for $ 960,000, which he rented to the Caesars Palace Hotel for $ 4 million and later sold to the same for a further $ 5 million. He bought another 33 hectare property in 1967 for 5 million US dollars, on which he built the “International Hotel” (now Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino ) with the largest showroom in Las Vegas at the time (about 2,000 seats) and 1,512 rooms the largest hotel in the world at the time. For the opening season of the hotel, he was able to engage Elvis Presley as a show act in 1969 . In 1971 he opened the MGM Grand for US $ 107 million, which was again the largest hotel in the world. In 1986, Kerkorian sold the old MGM Grand and its sister home to the Bally's Las Vegas hotel and casino complex for nearly $ 600 million . Through his spin-off company MGM Mirage (today: MGM Resorts International ) he built a new MGM Grand Hotel , which was inaugurated in 1993. Kerkorian also owned the Flamingo Las Vegas . The casino and hotel operator MGM Resorts International also owns a number of other world-famous casino hotels in Vegas, including the Bellagio , the Mirage , Treasure Island Las Vegas and New York-New York.

Until his death, Kerkorian was the main shareholder of MGM Resorts International, based in Las Vegas.

Kerkorian and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

In 1969 Kerkorian took over Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), in the same year he appointed James T. Aubrey the Elder. J. to the President. As a result, many business activities were cut back. Businesses, real estate and many historical memorabilia were sold, including Dorothy Gales wine-red slippers from the movie The Wizard of Oz (dt. The Wizard of Oz ). Despite its decline, MGM was able to make a number of better-known films in the 1970s, such as Fame , Logan's Run ( Escape into the 23rd Century ) and Shaft .

In 1979, Kerkorian named MGM a company that mainly operated hotels. In 1981 he also acquired United Artists . Both companies were sold to Ted Turner in 1986 .

Auto industry

Kerkorian's Tracinda Corporation was the major shareholder in Chrysler Corporation and Kerkorian was instrumental in merging with Daimler-Benz in 1998 . Following Kerkorian sued the company to eight billion dollars in damages because of the merger in his opinion, not as claiming a " merger of equals " (merger of equals) , but a takeover of Chrysler by Daimler-Benz had been. Kerkorian's complaint was based, among other things, on an unfortunate formulation by Jürgen Schrempp in an interview with the Financial Times on October 30, 2000. In April 2007, in the wake of the financial difficulties of the Daimler-Chrysler group , Kerkorian again expressed interest in a takeover of Chrysler. He is said to have offered $ 4.5 billion for the American car brand.

In 2005 he bought a large number of shares in the troubled General Motors Group and temporarily held 9.9% of the shares in GM. In November 2006, however, Kerkorian's company Tracinda sold 2.5% of the shares for $ 264 million. In April 2008, he bought about 5% of the shares in ailing automaker Ford Motor. By December 2008, however, he parted with the Ford stake, as it had lost considerable value in the wake of the financial crisis.


Kirk Kerkorian has donated over $ 1 billion to charity worldwide during his lifetime. In 2011, he donated $ 200 million to UCLA through his Lincy Foundation for grants, medical research, and other projects. He also supported social projects in Armenia through his Lincy Foundation . After the severe earthquake in Armenia in 1988 , Kerkorian made 200 million US dollars available for reconstruction, with which, among other things, the trade route from Iran via Armenia to the Georgian Black Sea coast could be restored.

Like his holding company Tracinda, the foundation is named after his daughters Linda and Tracey.

For Andre Agassi's charity, The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, Kerkorian made a $ 18 million donation in 2011, giving the organization an eternal future.


Before the 2007 financial crisis, Kerkorian's fortune was valued at $ 15 billion. He was ranked 31st on Forbes' list of the richest people in the world. In 2015, Kerkorian was 393rd on Forbes Magazine 's list of assets with an estimated $ 4 billion, making him 98 years old after David Rockefeller , who turned 100 in June, is the second oldest billionaire in the world.


Kerkorian was married three times. His first wife was Hilda Schmidt, with whom he was married from 1942 to 1952. From his second marriage to Jean Maree Harbor-Hardy, which lasted from 1954 to 1984, the two daughters Tracy and Linda were born.

In 1999, Kerkorian's third marriage was for 28 days to the 48 years younger professional tennis player Lisa Bonder . Custody of the allegedly common child Kira was awarded to Bonder after the divorce. After Kerkorian hired detectives in 2001 to prove that his former spouse Bonder was having an affair with Steve Bing , it turned out that he was the father of the child. Although it was established that Kerkorian was not Kira's biological father, in 2010 he agreed to pay the child a monthly child support of $ 100,000.

Another legal battle ensued, but now over violations of privacy. The detectives had also searched Bing's rubbish and found dental floss that was used to prove paternity through DNA analysis .


In 1986 he had the 36-meter luxury yacht October Rose - named after his sister - built at the Elsflether shipyard . In February 2015 it was announced that Kerkorian would fund a film about the Armenian genocide . The film called “The Promise”, completed in 2016, deals with a love tragedy against the background of the genocide of the Armenians during the First World War . Directed by Terry George and written by Robin Swicord . Actors Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac took on a leading role.

At a fundraiser for Andre Agassi's charity, he announced that Kerkorian had helped the Agassi family financially through difficult times and made a living. Agassi's father Emmanuel "Mike" Agassi , who like Kerkorian is also of Armenian origin, worked at the MGM Grand Hotel, which had to be closed due to a fire in November 1980, which led to the layoff of its employees. Kerkorian also paid for Mike's heart surgery in 1995. Andre Agassi's middle name Kirk is dedicated to Kerkorian.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. "King of Las Vegas": US billionaire Kerkorian is dead . n-tv . June 16, 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
  2. a b Legendary US billionaire Kirk Kerkorian is dead . Süddeutsche Zeitung . June 16, 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
  3. a b c d e f Casino mogul and billionaire: Kirk Kerkorian is dead . SPIEGEL ONLINE . June 16, 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
  4. Bolstered by Kirk Kerkorian's donation, Andre Agassi Grand Slam for Children to take a year off . Las Vegas Sun. November 11, 2011. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  5. Kerkorian to Transfer $ 200 Million Lincy Fund to UCLA . Bloomberg LP February 14, 2011. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  6. Kirk Kerkorian on the Ninetieth: The Old Man and the Money . Süddeutsche Zeitung . May 19, 2010. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  7. In the poor land of billionaires . . December 1, 2011. Accessed June 17, 2015.
  8. a b Kerkorian's generosity will influence generations . Las Vegas Sun. June 21, 2015. Accessed June 26, 2015.
  9. US billionaire Kirk Kerkorian is dead . . June 16, 2015. Accessed June 17, 2015.
  10. Kirk Kerkorian - Forbes . Forbes Magazine . Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  11. 5 Amazing Facts About Kirk Kerkorian . Time . June 16, 2015. Retrieved June 18, 2015.
  12. Kirk Kerkorian: A Great American and Yacht Owner , of July 14, 2015
  13. ^ Billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, 97, Funding Epic Feature Film About Armenian Genocide . Showbiz411. February 26, 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
  14. ^ "King of Las Vegas" to fund making of Armenian Genocide movie . March 6, 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015.
  15. Kirk Kerkorian Armenian Genocide Movie Update: Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac to Star . Showbiz411. June 15, 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015.
  16. Christian Bale: Promising three-way constellations . Showbiz. June 18, 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015.
  17. ^ Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac to star in Kirk Kerkorian produced film on Armenian Genocide . Public Radio of Armenia. June 16, 2015. Accessed June 19, 2015.
  18. ^ "The Promise" in the Internet Movie Database